From Child Labor 'Problem' to Human Trafficking 'Crisis': Child Advocacy and Anti-Trafficking Legislation in Ghana
Benjamin N. Lawrance
Rochester Institute of Technology
November 7, 2010
International Labor and Working-Class History, No. 78, pp. 63–88, Fall 2010,
This article examines the relationship between multidimensional child advocacy campaigns and the enactment of Ghana's Human Trafficking Act (2005). I argue that while child advocacy has a rich history, the diffuse labor-oriented advocacy characteristic of the 1990s failed to articulate an achievable goal. Child labor advocacy was impotent because the diverse agencies involved adopted different positions about the permissibility of child labor. By contrast, the anti-trafficking initiatives of the early 2000s focused narrowly on legislative remedy and formulated a discourse of "crisis." An anti-trafficking coalition built on an international regulation model that emerged from the cocoa industry. As agents of social and political change, domestic, regional, and foreign nongovernmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations played important roles in shaping debates and framing new law. The Ghanaian law, however, is of limited effectiveness because it ignores autochthonous social practices with historically rich traditions, and it enjoins a narrow, economic model for the proliferation of trafficking.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: trafficking, Ghana, cocoa, children, child labor, legislation
JEL Classification: A13
Date posted: November 8, 2010 ; Last revised: May 11, 2014
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